Ito Toshiyoshi (伊藤雋吉)

Toshiyoshi ITO (April 30, 1840 - April 10, 1921) was a samurai in the Edo period and a military man of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Meiji and Taisho periods. He was a vice-admiral baron of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) decorated with kinshi kunsho (the Order of the Golden Kite). His childhood name was Tokuta and later Shunkichi.

In April 1840, he was born as a son of a feudal retainer of Tanabe Domain of Tango Province in the town of Tedai (current Miyazuguchi, Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture). He is said to have read and understood Japanese and Chinese books from childhood and been good at mathematics, and a story has it that when he was given a question, he solved it in the cemetery of Zuiko-ji Temple (Maizuru City). Eventually, due to a request from the domain, he moved to Edo, where he studied Western studies, military science, and mathematics under Masujiro OMURA, and joined the Navy with the invitation of Omura. After Meiji Restoration, he was given the Ko third grade.

After he successively held posts as the captains of 'Kasugamaru,' 'Nisshin (cruiser),' 'Tsukuba (corvette),' and other ships, he worked at a dormitory of the Navy soldiers. After working as the dormitory's vice-chief, kangakkacho, and so on, he returned to the sea duty. In 1878, he took up the position of the captain of a new ship 'Kongo (corvette),' which had just been navigated.
While in this position, he distinguished himself in water route measurement, and he then successively held posts including a post in the naval academy, the undersecretary of the Navy, and the chief of the naval general staff (the title changed to the President of the Naval General Staff.)
In 1882, he took up the position of the president of Kyodo Unyu Kaisha (literary, a joint transportation company) while he was a rear admiral. After being promoted to vice admiral, he turned to politics and became a member of Kizokuin (the House of Peers). On August 20, 1895, he was granted the title of baron because of his achievements in the Sino-Japanese War.

He was good at poetry and writing and adroit at calligraphy, and left 48 characters of the traditional Japanese syllabary that were used for the names of ships. Part of the characters is still used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force ('あ' and 'き' of the aircraft carrier Akagi [あかぎ] are inherited in the form of 'か' and 'き' of the escort vessel Takatsuki [たかつき]).

Although Ito may be minor as a military man, it was only Ito and Sukeshige MAKINO, the last lord of Tanabe Domain of Tango Province, who were granted the peerage among people from Maizuru City, and thus Ito is said to be respected as a rare great figure in the district.